The grass court mini-season continued to provide some nice betting successes on Tuesday at the AEGON Open in Nottingham in a pleasing day on the tour.
My ‘long shot’ double carried over from Monday because of the rain provided a 3.60 winner when Leo Mayer and Yen Hsun Lu both covered their handicaps before Sam Querrey delivered another success for ‘sure thing’ backers.
Sergiy Stakhovsky joined the party when he won the opening set against Viktor Troicki to secure a 2.30 winner for my ‘value bet’ and those who took Marcel Granollers +1.5 sets as a single enjoyed success too.
Only Dudi Sela was a disappointment when the Israeli led in both sets against Pablo Cuevas and ended up losing both of them to foil the ‘long shot’ double with Granollers.
Sam Querrey vs Pablo Cuevas
I’m happy to stick with Big Sams as the ‘sure thing’ of the day on Wednesday, with the American facing another South American clay courter with a poor record on grass in Cuevas.
The Uruguayan doesn’t often venture onto the lawns and Sela really should have beaten him on Tuesday, but surely Querrey will finish the job.
That win over Sela was only Cuevas’ second ever on grass in the main draw of any tournament and his first since beating Christophe Rochus at Wimbledon 11-9 in the fifth set back in 2009.
He was well beaten by another big server in Jerzy Janowicz on grass in Halle last week and although the first set might well go over 9.5 games the resistance of Cuevas will surely crumble as the match goes on in these conditions.
Querrey has won nine of his last 10 completed matches as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite, which is slightly surprising, but he seems the most solid option of the short prices today.
Leonardo Mayer vs Jiri Vesely
I like the 2.38 about the opening set of this one going past the 10.5 games mark in a match-up between two guys who can bang a serve down at pace.
Both players enjoyed convincing straight sets wins on Tuesday and faced only one break point between them yesterday (which was saved by Vesely) and early on I would expect a tight affair dominated by serve.
The pair have met three times on tour, with Mayer leading 2-1 and their most recent one on clay at the French Open was a tight five set affair that the Argentine finally won.
After that battle they should certainly know each other’s games pretty well and I’d be surprised if either player won easily today.
I’d give Mayer the edge again here, but the set one overs does feel like better value at 2.38 than taking Mayer at around 1.65 in a match that could go either way on what looks quite a tricky day of match betting.
Joao Sousa vs Gilles Simon
Anyone that sat through the three-hours-plus of Simon vs Granollers yesterday will have come away from that match wondering how Gillou won it – or more pertinently how Granollers lost it.
The Spaniard served for a straight sets win at *5-3 and reached 40-0 before collapsing, fighting back in the third to lead by a break, failing again, and finally getting bagelled in the final set tie break.
Each player looked physically gone and Simon had the trainer out quite early on for a back issue, all of which doesn’t bode well for a clash with the master grinder Sousa today.
I’m not sure Simon will be capable of another grind and if I were him I’d be after a quick exit here with Wimbledon just five days away and with easily enough grass court time under his belt.
Both of their prior clashes have gone the distance and Sousa will be buzzing after beating Sam Groth last night and he needs the grass practice far more than Simon.
Their respective styles mean that the strongest should survive and the value for me here lies with the 2-0 to Sousa ataround the 4.33 mark.
Elsewhere, Marcos Baghdatis should have enough on grass to defeat Alexander Zverev, although I don't trust the Cypriot as a favourite these days, while Alexandr Dolgopolov should be beating Dominic Thiem on grass, but the Ukrainian didn't look too bothered yesterday against Pablo Andujar and he's another not to trust at odds-on.
Yen-Hsun Lu has half a chance against Feli Lopez, but much depends on the attitude of the latter, who may or not fancy scrapping it out to defend the large quantity of ranking points he gained on grass last season.
Denis Istomin is my last man standing in the outright market this week and he faces a real 50/50 match against Sergiy Stakhovsky that I wouldn't touch under any circumstances, but Adrian Mannarino looks a viable proposition as underdog against Simone Bolelli.
Sure thing: Back Querrey to beat Cuevas at 1.26
Value bet: Back over 10.5 games in set one of Mayer/Vesely at 2.38
Long shot: Back Sousa to beat Simon 2-0 at 4.33